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Konturierungen eines umstrittenen Themas
Volume Editor: Winfried Löffler
Ein aktueller Überblick zur Ideen- und Missbrauchsgeschichte eines schillernden Schlagworts, aber auch zu seinen Potenzialen als philosophisches Analysewerkzeug.
Die Wortgeschichte von „Weltanschauung“ ist kurz: Zwischen seinem ersten, eher beiläufigen Auftauchen bei Kant 1790, subjektivierenden Aufladungen in der Romantik und den inflationären Ideologisierungen und Politisierungen von „Weltanschauung“ im späten 19. und frühen 20. Jahrhundert liegen nur 150 Jahre. Besonders sein Missbrauch durch NS-Ideologen hat das Wort in Verruf gebracht, es lebt aber u.a. im juristischen Sprachgebrauch fort und erlebt in der gegenwärtigen Religionskritik wieder etwas Konjunktur: Dort wird z.T. wieder eine naturalistische „wissenschaftliche Weltanschauung“ in Aussicht gestellt. Als philosophisches Analysewerkzeug hat das Wort aber Potenzial: „Weltanschauung“ könnte nicht nur für religiös-politische Bewertungen stehen, sondern auch für jenes implizite theoretische Koordinatensystem, das jeden Menschen in seinem Verstehen, Denken und Handeln leitet.
Early Psychoanalytic Religious Writings presents, in one edited volume, many of the foundational writings in the psychoanalytic study of religion. These translated works by Abraham, Fromm, Pfister, and others, complement Freud’s seminal contributions and provide a unique window into the origins of psychoanalytic thinking. The volume includes the Freud-Pfister correspondence, with a brief introduction, which reveals the rich back story of friendship, mutual respect, and intellectual debate. These essays are anchored in Freud’s early theory-building and prefigure and are linked to later developments in psychoanalytic thought. The issues raised in these essays are of relevance still today – how is religions thinking shaped by unconscious processes reflecting primary relationships and drives?
Author: Mirella Klomp
In what is often considered ‘a society “after God”’, millions of Dutch participate annually in a public multi-media performance of Christ's Passion. What to make of this paradox? In Playing On: Re-staging the Passion after the Death of God, Mirella Klomp offers a theological analysis of this performance and those involved in it. Working in an interdisciplinary fashion and utilizing creative interludes, she demonstrates how precisely this production of Jesus' last hours carves out a new and unexpected space for God in a (post-)secular culture. Klomp argues compellingly that understanding God's presence in the Western world requires looking beyond the church and at the public domain; that is the future of practical theology. She lays out this agenda for practical theology by showing how the Dutch playfully rediscover Christian tradition, and – perhaps – even God.
Volume Editors: Phil Shining and Nicol Michelle Epple
The wide spectrum of links and interrelations found amongst the diversity of human sexual expressions and spiritual practices around the world constitutes one of the most fruitful grounds of scholarly research today. Exploring Sexuality and Spirituality introduces an emerging academic field of studies focused on the multiplicity of problematizations intersecting spirituality and sexuality, from eroticism and ecstasy embodiments to inner spiritual cultivation, intimate relationships, sex education, and gender empowerment. This collection of essays addresses subjects such as prehistoric art, Queer Theology, BDSM, Tantra, the Song of Songs, ‘la petite mort’, asceticism, feminist performative protests, and sexually charged landscapes, among others. Through varied methodologies and state-of-the-art interdisciplinary approaches, this volume becomes highly useful for readers engaged in the integration of scholarly and practical knowledge.

Abstract

We use data from qualitative interviews with forty atheist activists in two Canadian cities to analyze the politics of critiquing Islam in the contemporary political environment. We show that atheist activists struggle to navigate between their criticisms of Islam, their fears of being labeled “Islamophobic” (taken as a synonym for “racist” or “xenophobic”), and their concerns about contributing to anti-Muslim rhetoric. To manage this struggle, atheists rely on stigma management tactics that allow them to hold or express criticisms of Islam without earning racially charged stigmatizing labels. Using these stigma management techniques speaks to the precarious positions of many atheists today as they try to critique Islam without expressing or contributing to prejudicial views against Muslims. This article will interest scholars of religion and nonreligion, especially those interested in the perceived stigmas associated with atheism and stigma management among members of secular movement organizations.

In: Secular Studies

Abstract

In the analytic Philosophy of Religion, much ink has been spilt on the existence of some sort of supernatural reality. Such work is usually done by theists, those who find classical theism to be probably true. It is my contention that the premises invoked in the common arguments or derivations for God’s existence do not necessarily lead to the god of theism. In this article, I note that these premises could also lead to various alternative naturalistic and supernaturalistic hypotheses (some of which are actualised throughout the non-Western world). As such, the main focus here is on describing some of the many naturalistic and supernaturalistic alternatives to classical theism, especially since several of these alternatives are generating discussion in the recent literature; explaining why a number of these alternatives are considered plausible by their proponents; and proposing how we might decide which theory is true, eventually endorsing a Bayesian approach.

In: Secular Studies
Author: Kevin McCaffree

Abstract

Researchers often define religion according to the presence (vs. absence) of supernaturalism. This has several serious shortcomings: (1) it construes religion narrowly as a historical/anthropological phenomenon, (2) it ignores the underlying evolved cognitive mechanisms facilitating tight group membership, which operate regardless of belief content and (3) it ensures that the study of religion will be obsolete if secularization continues. Instead of a slavish adherence to the criteria of supernaturalism, I suggest here a broader and more evolutionarily-informed definition of religion (and secularity): religion is what emerges when individuals become highly (perhaps overly-) integrated into a moral community; secularity is what emerges when individuals are moderately (perhaps under-) integrated into a moral community.

In: Secular Studies
Author: Roosa Haimila

Abstract

Endorsement of science is often associated with non-religiosity and lack of supernatural belief. However, the relevance of science for worldviews might also relate to the cultural context and/or personal investment in science. This study investigates the following question: Is endorsement of worldview components of science associated with unbelief among science-oriented respondents? Here, worldview components refer to science providing 1) a sense of meaning, 2) moral standards, and 3) literal or symbolic continuity after death. 387 Finnish adults recruited via pro-research organizations were included in the analysis. The results suggest that self-reported worldview functions of science are associated with unbelief also among science-oriented individuals. These findings lend support to the belief replacement hypothesis, which suggests that secular worldviews such as belief in science are of particular importance for unbelievers. However, the effect sizes are small and also other God belief groups endorse the significance of science for e.g., meaning in life.

In: Secular Studies
Author: Primus

Abstract

This article presents an ontological proof that God is impossible. I define an ‘impossibility’ as a condition which is inconceivable due to its a priori characteristics (e.g. a ‘square circle’). Accordingly, said conditions will not ever become conceivable, as they could in instances of a posteriori inconceivability (e.g. the notion that someone could touch a star without being burned). As the basis of this argument, I refer to an a priori observation (Primus, 2019) regarding our inability to imagine inconsistency (difference) within any point of space. This observation renders the notion of absolute power to be inconceivable, a priori. I briefly discuss the moral implications of religious faith in the context of Purism: a moral rationalist paradigm. I conclude that whilst belief in God can be aesthetically expressed it should not be possessed as a material purpose, due to the illogicality of the latter category of belief and/or expression. With this article I provide conceptual delineation between harmless religious belief and expression—which, I argue, should be protected from persecution, as per any other artistic expression—and religious belief and expression which is materially harmful to society. Whilst I aim to protect religious freedom of expression on one hand, I duly aim to reduce instances of material faith in God(s) on the other. Finally, I aim to bring hope in the possibility for human salvation via technology—such that they should exist indefinitely as ‘demi-gods,’ defined by conditional, relative power over their environment.

In: Secular Studies

Abstract

This contribution provides clues as to why (the quest for) reconciliation in South Africa fits the broad definition of a wicked problem. Popularized by Horst Rittel and Melvin Webber (), wicked problem refers to something that is either too difficult or nearly impossible to resolve. It is abundantly clear from the available literature that reconciliation is understood in very different ways. Not only is there a lack of conceptual clarity, but strategies aimed at working towards this ideal reveal or produce new problems as an unintended consequence. Some strategies approach the discourse for the purpose of political expediency, while others are more interested in its theological (or existential) properties. This tension is referenced as the dominant split between heaven and earth. Notwithstanding the complexity of the problem, this contribution alludes to the limitations of such approaches if those who propagate them insist that such views remain mutually exclusive. Building on the theology of Allan Aubrey Boesak and Curtiss Paul DeYoung (), this contribution is an attempt to avoid the polarization of such views and highlight the fundamental asymmetry between divine and human action. This is underscored by the work of Christ through which God reconciled the world to himself (2 Cor. 5:19) and the ministry of reconciliation in society. In taking this approach, one avoids the tendency to provide superficial answers to a complex (wicked) problem.

In: Philosophia Reformata

Abstract

The world currently faces the highest number in recorded history of people fleeing from war and violence. Refugee-hosting countries in the western part of the world experience the effects of global issues more than ever and face dealing with humanitarian logistics for refugees on an unprecedented scale. These countries continuously optimize their policies regarding refugees by navigating between obligations toward the Geneva Refugee Treaty, manageability of the situation, and worries of their citizens voiced through public opinion. The issue can be considered a wicked problem because of its unpredictability, complexity, and global scale. Presuppositions about human flourishing affect the interpretation of well-being in refugee policies. In this article, we reflect on refugees’ experiences with Dutch asylum policies, analyzing these experiences through the theoretical lenses of Abraham Maslow, Manfred Max-Neef, and Herman Dooyeweerd. We learn from Maslow the importance of providing information for the satisfaction of basic needs; from Max-Neef we learn that, with the sole exception of the need for subsistence (that is, to remain alive), all fundamental needs are equally important; and from Dooyeweerd we learn that trust, though often overlooked, is important for refugee well-being.

In: Philosophia Reformata
Author: Philip Woodward

Abstract

I discuss three tiers of technological innovation: mild innovation, or the acceleration by technology of a human activity aimed at a good; moderate innovation, or the obviation by technology of an activity aimed at a good; and radical innovation, or the altering by technology of the human condition so as to change what counts as a good. I argue that it is impossible to morally assess proposed innovations within any of these three tiers unless we rehabilitate a natural-law ethical framework. And I offer some moral starting points within such a framework, in connection with innovations of each of the three types.

In: Philosophia Reformata

Abstract

In light of scholarly debates on the wicked problems framework, this contribution offers an appraisal of the role of theology in an African context characterized by myriad wicked problems. I argue that within the (South) African context, the decolonization of theology is indispensable for doing theology that is self-consciously contextual and therefore responsive to societal issues. This is crucial not least because of the widely recognized public role of religion in Africa. Drawing on the analytical framework of decoloniality and the theoretical concept of wicked problems, I will argue that although the category of wicked problems emerged within the framework of the intellectual world of the Northern Hemisphere, its analytical capacity is no less significant for contemporary African theological discourse on decoloniality.

In: Philosophia Reformata

Abstract

This contribution explores the assertion that climate change may be described as a “wicked problem.” It notes that the term was introduced in the context of the management sciences where a managerial ethos prevailed and where moral connotations were excluded. Subsequent references to climate change as a wicked problem maintained both these features. Yet, if climate change not only poses technological, economic, and political problems but also has moral and, indeed, spiritual challenges—as is widely maintained—then such moral connotations cannot be avoided. The description of a problem as wicked then becomes part of the problem. It is argued that the term is best understood as one used in jest, so that if we seek to define a problem’s wickedness in a conceptually precise way, we are missing the joke. The major moral dimensions of the challenges posed by climate changes should be taken seriously, but perhaps there is no need to take the term wicked problems all that seriously. What should not be laughed off is the managerial ethos that presumes that the challenges posed by climate changes can be addressed “exactly” through climate engineering or even social engineering.

In: Philosophia Reformata

Abstract

The concept of wicked problems has inspired researchers in a variety of research fields, but it has also led to various discussions on, for instance, conceptual confusion and ways to tackle such complex problems. Many contemporary problems can be characterized as wicked problems: their nature is complex and there is no one best possible way to solve them. During the last decades, many insights have been developed to define characteristics of wicked problems and ways to tackle them. At present, however, we need to examine the actionable knowledge accumulated in the literature to address the challenges that wicked problems create. Given the above, this introductory paper summarizes how wicked problems have evolved, what we have already learnt about them, and what scientific insights are needed to move forward. This systematic review can provide new knowledge that can lead to the development and subsequent evaluation of the wicked problems research area.